Anyone who’s owned a cat can tell you that they are hide and seek champions, putting Waldo and Carmen Sandiego to shame. I once had a friend who did cat sitting, and the only reason he knew the (indoor) cat was still in the vicinity was the food dish was regularly emptied. Other than that, he didn’t see a paw or a tail the whole time he was there. It is with the knowledge that cats are superior ninjas of stealth that I dove into Hidden Paws, the 3D seek and find game by Manic Hyena.
The game’s tagline is “It’s winter and cats are still outside. Cold and alone. Find them and bring them home.” How could anyone say no to that? And that is the entire story of Hidden Paws. No complicated plot and no distraught cat owners, just you and several levels of wintery wonderland goodness finding kitties. This also means there are no real characters in the game, but seeing as there are dozens of adorable cats that you automatically love because they’re cats, the character motivation was not needed.
Hidden Paws uses a very simple, blocky art style, with few complicated textures. It’s almost minimalistic for a 3D game, and it works nicely for a seek and find setup. More textures and shapes would honestly make the game much more difficult than it is, or than it needs to be. The game was hard at points, but I wasn’t ever sitting around tearing my hair out in frustration. For a game intended to be fun and relaxing, that’s a definite good thing.
The winter atmosphere and subtle Christmas themes were a nice change of pace in the hot weather, though the game had a nice, cozy feeling that it carried throughout all the levels. Other highlights included penguins, a lighthouse and more snowmen than you could shake a stick at. The game also has you look for yarn balls for the cats in every level, adding a nice extra challenge for those looking for a little something extra.
My only complaint about Hidden Paws is that the camera controls took some getting used to. They aren’t actually that difficult, but playing with a mouse is the preferred way to go, and it became something of a nuisance to try and use the trackpad on my laptop. Once you figure out how to make the camera controls work for your style of searching, it becomes much easier.
Hidden Paws takes several hours to play through, and it’s a nice diversion. There is replay value, if you forget where the cats are in the levels, which is actually quite easy to do seeing as there are so many of them, both levels and cats. There’s 120 cats to find across 16 levels, plus more yarn balls than I managed to keep track of. So, what are you waiting for? There’s cold kitties out there that need you!
TechRaptor played Hidden Paws on PC with a copy purchased by the reviewer.